As temperatures drop and energy bills rise, the state of Colorado is encouraging residents who struggle with home heating costs to apply for the Low-income Energy Assistance Program.
LEAP is a federally funded program administered by the Colorado Department of Human Services that provides funds to help eligible Colorado families, seniors, and individuals pay a portion of winter home heating costs.
Aggie Berens, LEAP manager says this year’s average LEAP benefit is about $457.
Berens explained that the minimum benefit is $300, and the maximum is $1300.
The program pays the highest benefits to those with the highest heating bills and lowest incomes, by family size.
Applicant income cannot exceed 150 percent of the federal poverty level, currently $2,982 per month for a family of four.
LEAP approved households are also eligible for the Crisis Intervention Program, which assists residents with broken furnaces or heating elements with repair or replacement.
For those who qualify for LEAP but still need additional assistance paying their heating costs, Atmos Energy also offers a Percentage Income Payment Program, which bases eligible customer bills on a percentage of their income.
Applications for LEAP are accepted Nov. 1 through April 30.
The Montezuma County LEAP office is at 109 W. Main St., Room 203 in Cortez.